[Non-graphic discussion of abuse and child pornography.]
When I was fifteen, I took topless photographs of myself for my eighteen year old boyfriend.
Early into our relationship, his abuse was limited to essentially “bartering” his affection and time for sex acts; his request for pictures followed the same pattern. I gave in after a couple days. And I thought nothing of it for as long as we were together. When I left him after two years, I was proud—it took a lot of maneuvering to get in a position where I could end the relationship. (I had to provide for my clothes, food, toiletries, and school costs at 16, with a minimum wage job that gave me anywhere from 6-25 hours a week, and wasn’t allowed to get a license by my father. My father also took part of my paycheck. These factors made it hard for me to leave the relationship—after being cut off from my friends by my boyfriend, he was the only person in my life who could transport me to something as necessary as a grocery store.)
I remember entering my senior year of high school, happy to just be alive. He didn’t kill me. My violent father, who I also left, didn’t either. I met someone new. I applied to college. Life was going to get better.
When I was eighteen, in college, and thinking about getting a job, I put my name—I’m the only person with my particular name—into Google. And I found the topless pictures on anonymous imageboards, along with information such as my high school and the college I was currently attending. My Livejournal was spammed by people from a popular imageboard site around this time, too; I received a flood of comments with screencaps of a post I made about being raped by my ex (that I had deleted), rape threats, men making rape jokes, and more until I disabled comments. My ex was mad at me, apparently, almost a year later. And for some reason he contacted me, telling me he wasn’t responsible for the comments, that I should just check his IP, etc. (Because he assumed I was an idiot, I guess.)
sites that host those pictures and forums that are dedicated solely to exposing (often underage) women and girls are so immediately horrifying. there’s nothing hypothetical about how scary those sites are. it’s unbelievably frustrating that people will act like you can somehow protect yourself from appearing on those sites when a. men will pull fully clothed pictures from your facebook and other personal sites b. men will dedicate time and money to taking pictures while you’re in public and c. men will manipulate and abuse women and girls into taking these photos
there’s an extreme double bind here, the same way there is with p much all aspects of women’s sexuality. if you don’t participate then you’re a prude, you don’t trust your boyfriend, you don’t love him, but if you do participate, even unwillingly, you deserve everything you get. and if you acknowledge this double bind, then you’re being paranoid. people have no problem saying “you should have known better” and “not all men are like that” in the same breath.
and honestly this is why i’m afraid of men in both public and private spaces. it’s not an undercurrent of fear, it’s outright suspicion of any man i encounter, bc i know that if i let my guard down, whatever happens is on me, and if i do anything to show my distrust then i’m a bitch
long post but w/e i’m tired of it